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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    November 08, 2019

    Final Thought
    Shut Up and Lift – Finding My Voice Through Powerlifting

    Powerlifting and other physical activities can help lawyers find and refine skills they might not have known they had.

    Catarina Anne Colon

    Colon powerlifting

    I have been preparing months for this day, diligently practicing and strategizing. My adrenaline is through the roof, and I am ready for battle. I know my plan of action, and I know what I must do to get my favored result.

    Catarina A. ColónCatarina A. Colón, U.W. 2019, is a commercial litigation attorney at Husch Blackwell LLP, Milwaukee.

    I am not talking about going to trial, but if I told you I were, you would believe me. Instead, I’m standing over or lying under a bar, loaded with nearly twice my body weight, that I need to successfully squat, bench, and deadlift. Yep, that’s right. When I get asked what I do for fun, I respond that I powerlift. If I’m being completely forthcoming, I am more of a powerbuilder than a powerlifter. This means that strength isn’t my only goal. Maintaining an aesthetic physique is equally important. As you may imagine, this is usually met with surprise, intrigue, and lots of questions. Here are some of my answers.

    I began powerlifting a little over three years ago. I had always been physically active. My mother was a personal trainer while I was growing up, and I was actively involved in sports in both high school and college. I had moved to Milwaukee after undergrad and met a trainer at my gym who, initially, was just a friendly acquaintance. I always admired her work ethic and her impressive physique, so after several months I inquired about training with her. During our first session, she suggested I was much stronger than I seemed to acknowledge. Fast forward nearly three and a half years, and I now train five or six days per week.

    I always have people asking about what it takes to successfully maintain this lifestyle. I typically respond by explaining that many of the skills I use in the sport are similar to the skills lawyers use every day: discipline, mental fortitude, planning, patience, and loads of practice. For these reasons, I truly believe powerlifting has made me a more effective advocate and has helped me find my voice as a woman of color in a profession in which people like me are few and far between. There’s something about accomplishing a physical feat that you never would have thought you were capable of that gives you confidence in other areas of your life as well. If I can train myself to press 165 pounds off my chest, I bet I can tackle the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

    Ultimately, I am a huge advocate of both physical and mental well-being. I highly encourage anyone who is able, especially women, to give strength sports a try. There is no age limit, and you only have to be able to lift the bar to succeed in powerlifting. If powerlifting isn’t for you, I highly recommend finding something that requires physical exertion and discipline. I know firsthand the new atmosphere will benefit and fulfill you.

    Many of the skills I use in the sport are similar to the skills lawyers use every day: discipline, mental fortitude, planning, patience, and loads of practice.

    Meet Our Contributors

    How do you go from idea to action?

    Catarina A. ColónIt really depends on what action I am taking, but most of the time I seek input from people I respect and know will give me critical feedback. Once I have fleshed out my idea, I create a plan of action to execute whatever that idea might be. Without actionable steps, ideas will always just stay ideas.

    Catarina A. Colón, Husch Blackwell LLP, Milwaukee.

    Become a contributor! Are you working on an interesting case? Have a practice tip to share? There are several ways to contribute to Wisconsin Lawyer. To discuss a topic idea, contact Managing Editor Karlé Lester at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6127, or email Check out our writing and submission guidelines.

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